Let me be up-front and say I’ve known Jeffrey and Trevor for donkey years—which is supposed to indicate an eternity, though I don’t quite know why—considering four-legged asses are as mortal as their beer-guzzling bi-ped counterparts.
For almost as long as I’ve known Trevor and his echo (which is what Jeffrey really is though he adamantly denies it, to the extent that on more than a few occasions he had taken serious umbrage when I mentioned it), I’ve also been aware of his, er, special intellect—special as in “Special Olympics.” What else can I say about a soi-disant educated man who boldly argues that the Big Bang relates to a legendary Roman sex orgy? I’ll tell you what else you can say: nothing. And if that’s not always possible, then make a point of staying away from anything by Shakespeare or Derek Walcott or Naipaul when the boy’s around. Trevor is the only human being I’ve ever encountered who somehow found a connection between Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and the fact that Darren Sammy is the captain of the West Indies Cricket team and not he. (Well, Jeffrey also saw a link but then that doesn’t count!)
The subject of local politics is another that should be avoided like the proverbial plague when Trevor and his echo are in your vicinity. I wish I had remembered that on Thursday when I dropped by a certain out-of-town eatery that specializes in delicacies usually associated with restaurants-on-wheels, such as are to be found outside the Castries market.
I certainly should’ve known better. But then all I said on the occasion was that there was more to Guy Joseph’s recent platform statement about Jeannine Compton than was coming out of the various red-zoned talk-radio exchanges.
“Why you like to talk so much shit?” said Trevor, spewing a rain of half-chewed jol cochon in my direction.
“Nice word,” I said, “considering we’re at a lunch table. Must you bemerde everything you say?”
And he said: “I never said anything about any mud. I said you always trying to defend the shit dem UWP fellows talk. What Guy Joseph said about Jeannine and Rambally was plain and simple low-class coolie maypwis!”
Too late, I realized I was already knee-deep in doo-doo.
I said: “Coolie? People still talk like that, Trevor? By the way, merde is just a nicer way of saying shit, especially with food in your mouth.”
“There you go again, more shit!”
Jeffrey jumped in before I could shoot back: “Rick just wants to defend dem sicko UWP fellas. Trevor, you know that!”
“So then what was so wrong with what Guy said?” I asked.
“Well for one thing,” Trevor informed me, “he had no right to mention the woman’s ex-husband,” said Trevor. “He was just trying to say the woman is a divorcee. You sayin’ that’s not maypwis? And what that have to do with politics, anyway?”
“When did being a divorcee become something to be ashamed of? Hasn’t Kenny Anthony been divorced? Didn’t Mario divorce his wife to marry a beauty queen? Didn’t . . .”
“Yeah,” said Jeffrey, “they divorced—just like you did. How many times again?”
“So if divorce is commonplace, where’s the maypwis value in mentioning the fact that Jeannine Compton was once married to a Rambally?” I asked. “The fact is that when she married into the family it came as a surprise to most people, with good reason. It’s not all that difficult to discover why.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” said Trevor. “But that’s water under the bridge. The woman married, she divorced, she married again and now she’s a parliamentarian. Talk about her performance in the House, talk about what she is doing or not doing for her constituency. Forget about who she used to be married to.”
“In other words, you want to dictate what the UWP should talk about, and how they should say it. The point Guy Joseph was making is this,” I said. “The United Workers Party is not an heirloom and Jeannine did not inherit it from her father. She had never indicated an interest in politics during her father’s lifetime. She wasn’t even a member of the UWP. She joined only when she thought there was a safe seat for the taking. The party had already made all arrangements for George Daniel to contest the Micoud North by-election and had to undo their plans at the last minute to accommodate Jeannine.”
“So wha’ wrong widdat?” asked Jeffrey?
“Everything,” I said, “especially if you were George Daniel, whose whole life was disrupted for months. All for nothing. Besides, what Guy was underscoring was Jeannine’s perceived ingratitude. He knows the details of how the system was manipulated against Daniel in the best interests of Jeannine. Right there was the best example of nasty politics and she should’ve run away from it. But Jeannine embraced the mess anyway. Why didn’t she say right away that this was not democracy at work, that Daniel was being treated unfairly and all that?”
“Rick grow up,” said Trevor, getting up from his seat and heading for a door marked Gentlemen.
“You and everyone else know politics is the dirtiest business in the world.”
“By which I take it you mean those who participate in it are the dirtiest people!”
By the time Trevor returned from whatever had kept him in the toilet for thirty minutes, the talk had deteriorated to Janice Compton’s famous declaration at the time of the Micoud North by-election. “Jeannine is a Compton and if she has to drag on her backside to win the seat, that is what she’ll do. She drag herself on her backside from house to house!”
“Okay, so Janice said that,” Trevor recalled. “So what?”
“So nothing,” I said, “except that we should not be surprised if politicians do whatever it takes to win. And that includes Jeannine Compton and her mother and her new husband. And if someone should mention that in all of John Compton’s years we never saw his wife or his sons and daughters doing what it takes to win elections, would that be a fact or more maypwis? Remember, how far Jeannine and Janice took their backside-dragging? Remember those pictures of Janice jitterbugging and sweating with the leader of the so-called Super Eight that allegedly killed her husband? Why shouldn’t Guy Joseph now be pissed off with Jeannine? After all he and the rest of the Super Eight did too accommodate her political ambitions, she turned around and betrayed them. Why shouldn’t they retaliate in the worst way? Isn’t that what Kenny Anthony did when George Odlum started calling for a government of national unity? Or is the new mantra going to be do as I say, not do as I do?”
Trevor stood up, straightened his tie. “Look.” he said, “I have clients waiting for me. Talk to you guys later. Coming Jeffrey?”
I have no doubt this is not the end of the conversation!